If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles here are written by a Functional Medicine Holistic Nutritionist. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
CBD FOR LUPUS: What You Thought You Knew
Cannabis is a natural growing plant that aids not only in reducing symptoms but putting your body into homeostasis. When your body is in “balance” it will never show symptoms of a disease.
CBD for Lupus… Do we need it, what should I take, and what IS CBD?
First, let me be clear – CBD, Cannabis/Marijuana, and Hemp are NOT the same thing.
Everyone’s talking about Cannabidiol (CBD) and spreading a whole lot of misinformation. Many are using the wrong terms to describe what they have and what others should take and it is very misleading. This causes people to not feel relief or not understand it so they expect one thing and get another.
I’m going to tell you “must know” facts on CBD that you’re not going to find anywhere else.
How do I know all of these CBD facts?
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Well, besides my degree in health sciences that I use daily, I thoroughly research it, speak to professionals in the field, and use CBD and cannabis myself. Cannabis education is one of my passions!
Did you know CBD can be derived from different sources too?? Well, get into that.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural game-changer for anyone suffering from chronic inflammation, chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer. Lupus sufferers find cannabis and CBD to work a million times better than any other medication and there are no side effects that will hurt us.
It’s the best addition to treatment for anyone and everyone (animals and children included)
Must-Know CBD Terms
Cannabis: It’s known as marijuana, weed, and pot. It’s the entire plant. It can be eaten, brewed, smoked and vaporized. Its oils can also be extracted and consumed, or incorporated into topical creams. Cannabis is consumed for its psychoactive and pain-relieving properties. It is currently a Schedule 1 drug in the United States and is illegal at the federal level, but is legal for recreational and/or medical use in 33 states.
Strain: A variation of cannabis that has been bred to enhance certain characteristics and compounds.
Terpenes: Aromatic oils secreted by the cannabis plant, which give its particular strain unique flavors and scents. Over 100 types have been identified. Terpenes also interact with other cannabis compounds to produce various physical and psychoactive effects.
Endocannabinoids: Neurotransmitters produced by the body that bind to cannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids help to control functions like pain and inflammation and maintaining homeostasis in the body.
Cannabinoid: Chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers. These are the compounds that relieve pain, nausea, anxiety, inflammation and so forth. THC and CBD are two of the common ones we hear often. Cannabinoid’s bind to receptor sites in our brain (CB-1) and our body(CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on the receptor they bind to.
THC: Abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the most popular compounds, or “cannabinoids,” found in cannabis. THC is the psychoactive component from the plant. It binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are responsible for pleasure and pain.
CBD: Abbreviation for cannabidiol, this is the other popular cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and, unlike THC which binds to cannabinoid receptors, stimulates the body’s own endocannabinoid system. This can lead to physical benefits like reducing pain and lowering inflammation.
Cannabis can be called marijuana, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Cannabis is the entire plant while marijuana is the flower of the plant. I’ll use the terms interchangeably.
Either way, it is one of the most beneficial and natural healing plants from nature. Cannabis can be made in many forms like vapes, gummies, oils, pills, topical creams, patches, and more.
It’s very complicated and contains so many different compounds that include terpenes and cannabinoids. Those compounds are used to create specific strains where each has different effects, taste, and smell.
Marijuana is the flower of female cannabis plants. This is where the richest concentrations of terpenes and cannabinoids are. This is what people use for medical and recreational use. THC is very high in this.
Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications – Indica and Sativa. There are more, but we’ll stick with these for this post.
What is Hemp?
Hemp and marijuana have similarities but have very distinct and crucial differences. Simply stated, it has a very low concentration of THC (0.3% or less).
Hemp is harvested by their seeds and stalks which are used to produce many different products.
Did you know hemp is used in a lot of products we use daily? Primarily, it’s used for industrial purposes like clothes, food, building material, oils, paper, food products, and plenty more.
It’s very eco-friendly in that it grows much faster than trees and uses fewer resources.
It’s used to make CBD products too.
In the US, hemp is legal if it has less than 0.3% of THC, while many other countries require 0.2% THC. Since this is so little, in the countries that don’t allow it, the consequences are usually minor.
What is CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid from the cannabis plant or hemp that is commonly used.
One of CBD’s benefits is that it lowers the “high” from THC when they’re used in combination.
Are you too nervous to try cannabis yet? CBD is perfect for you. Plus, if you don’t have access to medical marijuana this is a great alternative.
CBD lowers mild to severe pain but sometimes won’t get rid of severe pain completely. This depends on the type of product from a brand you’re using, dosage, and if it’s a full spectrum or isolate CBD.
Nonetheless, it’s a great addition to pain management in that it will aid in reducing pain and allow you to not rely on as many painkillers.
Painkillers ironically make you feel loopier than 1:1 ratio of marijuana by the way.
Not only that but, painkillers only reduce symptoms, while CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that treats the underlying inflammation, not just treating symptoms.
CBD is great in reducing and/or preventing:
- Antibiotic-resistant infections
- Epilepsy and many other disorders
How Does THC Affect My Brain
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid or type of compound from cannabis. THC is what induces the psychoactive effects or the feeling of being “high”.
THC concentration can range from 10%-30% or more through selective breeding of marijuana.
Keep this in mind and don’t be afraid of THC:
- THC has more healing properties when used in combination (read #5!)
- YOU CAN NEVER DIE FROM A WEED OVERDOSE but don’t test it out because it will not be fun. You can feel too high and that comes with unwanted and uncomfortable feelings for many hours.
- THC stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine.
- THC can sometimes increase anxiety in those who are dealing with anxiety issues, which is why CBD only products are better. This isn’t a rule though, it depends on the dosage and ratio of CBD:THC.
The Entourage Effect
No, it has nothing to do with the infamous TV show. It’s even better!
You may have seen on Lupus Health Shop’s Instagram, they’ve dedicated multiple posts on Cannabis and CBD. They describe the entourage effect perfect; “Cannabinoids work better synergistically, rather than individually.”
Research shows when cannabinoids are used together, they bring out the best in each that we wouldn’t get to feel if they were isolated compounds.
What’s even better is that when you use the whole plant, the compounds amplify the chemistry of each compound making it more effective at treating disease and symptoms of the disease.
A recent study showed whole plant extract was more effective in treating MS than alone.
As if that’s not enough amazingness, when cannabinoids and other natural parts of the plant work together, they minimize unwanted side effects like paranoia and anxiety.
Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Our body has a separate system that responds directly to compounds in cannabis, CBD and THC are two of the compounds.
Leafly tells us 3 components of ECS:
- Cannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of cells
- Endocannabinoids, small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors
- Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are used
CB-1 is one of the most abundant cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Throughout the body the receptor CB-2 connects to THC, there is a lot in the immune system.
See why THC is necessary for us chronically ill?! It’ll help stabilize our immune system.
Cannabinoids bind to them mimicking endocannabinoids which activate to maintain internal stability and health or homeostasis.
Homeostasis is comparable to the Goldilocks story – where balance is key to a disease-free body. Conditions need to be in the right balance in order for the cells in our body to function correctly. This means, no inflammation, no disease, no brain fog, etc.
Endocannabinoids are naturally found in our system. However, when there is a deficiency or problem with this system symptoms and physical complications can occur.
ECS is the largest neurotransmitter system in the body. I’m’ sure you’re familiar with the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and GABA right? We have more endocannabinoids in our body than those!
When we are depleted in the neurotransmitters previously mentioned, a disease manifests. Like depression and decreased serotonin as one example.
So, when we’re depleted within our endocannabinoid system this is called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD).
There are a few components that can cause this. Some don’t have enough endocannabinoids synthesized, some don’t have enough receptors and some have too many enzymes that break down endocannabinoids. Lastly, you could have enough receptors and endocannabinoids, but not enough action or signaling.
If you don’t respond well to CBD or marijuana you could have CECD or Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency.
Poor lifestyle choices and medications deplete our system and cause this. So, it’s important to eat phytocannabinoids like flaxseed or black pepper. Also, you could modify your lifestyle choices. For example, eating organic and chemical-free whole foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. You can exercise more, and manage stress correctly.
How to Consume CBD for Lupus
- Tinctures applied under the tongue for 30+ seconds take about 20 minutes to start to work.
- Takes 45-60 minutes to work, it lasts long. Harder to experiment doses as compared to tinctures/vapes.
- CBD infused edibles can take up to three hours to work at full capacity. The effects wear off much slower.
- CBD “liquid” in a vape pen is safer than smoking. Smoking hurts the lungs! This gives relief within 10 (ish) minutes. It doesn’t last long.
- CBD lotions and salves are very beneficial for burns, sores, skin conditions, and muscle pain. Can last a few hours.
Within the 5 different ways to consume CBD or cannabis for Lupus, each has a different benefit or drawback. You’re in luck though, there’s no wrong choice. Pick what’s best for your ailment(s).
Remember, companies don’t have to tell you if there are pesticides or chemicals in it.
So, it’s very important to make sure you buy from a company that:
- Has independent/3rd party testing and provides updated files for you on the site or at your request
- Full-spectrum CBD over isolate CBD (review #5, entourage effect)
- A completely transparent company who is very clear on where and how they produce their product
- Check verified reviews
- Dosage varies per person, start low and slow
Treat yourself to the ultimate healing benefits of CBD or cannabis. This is the most reliable way to decrease disease activity in the body whether it’s Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, IBS, Chrons and plenty more.
I love the tinctures for managing chronic inflammation from Lupus, what do you prefer when using CBD or cannabis?
Don’t forget to share this blog and tag @lupushealthshop on any social media site so that we can stop the confusion of CBD use in our chronic illness community!